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Wiring campers

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By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Children in the Triangle, Singapore, Sweden and Westchester County, N.Y., plugged into science, physics, engineering and computer programming this summer at a five-week tech camp, thanks to support from IBM.

The YWCA of the Greater Triangle and agencies in the three other locales are piloting camps over three summers that provide projects in science, engineering and technology, and will let campers connect with one another online.

With curriculum developed by the Center for Engineering Educational Outreach at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., the camp features individual and small-team projects, access to new technology and weekly themes ranging from Lego robotics and bridge design to musical instrument engineering and environmental science.

The pilot initiative, worth $75,000 over three years to the YWCA of the Triangle, includes curriculum, hardware, software and startup funds from IBM’s Global Work/Life Fund, and is designed to strengthen programs to benefit IBM employees and other working families, says Leigh Duque, the Y’s executive director.

While the camp is open to children from throughout the Triangle, she says, the Y recruited heavily at IBM for the camp, which was open to girls and boys ages 10 to 14 and can handle 20 campers a week for five one-week sessions.

“This is hands-on science that’s not like school,” she says. “That’s how we reach kids and we start to teach the skills that are required of them in the new century.”

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